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A fractured cusp is a very common dental injury. Cusps help you chew and give your teeth anatomy. Most molars have four or five cusps.
The top portion of a tooth, or tooth cusp, can fracture due to tooth decay or injury. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers numerous ways to prevent a fractured cusp.
These treatments can help restore your teeth in the event of a fracture. Speak to your general dentist to see what treatment is best for you.
Aside from a fractured cusp, there are four other types of tooth fractures. It is always essential to get a proper diagnosis from your dentist on what type of tooth fracture you have.
The type of treatment, its cost, and your oral health standing will also depend on what type of fracture you have.
The other types of tooth fractures are:
Craze lines are superficial tiny cracks in the enamel. They usually occur in adult teeth, don’t cause any immediate harm, and are monitored by your dentist.
A split tooth is caused by tooth decay or an injury that causes two distinct segments. Extraction is usually required if the tooth can’t be salvaged.
This type of crack begins below the gum line and extends to the tooth's surface. These range in severity and may not cause symptoms until the tooth becomes infected.
Root fractures commonly occur from dental trauma. Extraction is usually required in these cases.
A cracked tooth can result from an injury, tooth grinding, or chewing hard foods. Depending on the extent of the tooth crack, a root canal, crown, and/or extraction may be needed.
There are plenty of factors that can cause the structure of your teeth to soften. For example, recurrent decay weakens teeth, potentially causing cracks.
The most common causes of a fractured cusp include:
Symptoms may vary depending on the severity of your fractured cusp. If you have a small chip, you may be unaware your tooth has a fracture.
On the other hand, larger fractures can be painful and require a visit to the dentist. Common symptoms of a fractured tooth include:
Usually, fractured cusps in adult teeth do not injure the pulp or require repair. When a broken cusp only affects the chewing surface, it may not cause any symptoms.
A fractured cusp does not always cause pain. But if the fracture is severe enough, it can be painful.
Inside each tooth, there is a soft inner tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.
When a tooth is fractured, chewing can cause the pieces to move and irritate the pulp. Eventually, the pulp may become too damaged to heal itself.
Once damaged, the tooth can become sensitive to extreme temperatures. A cracked tooth can start hurting all by itself after a while. If left untreated, extensive cracks can lead to infected pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gums.
Dentists have different methods to diagnose cracks and fractures early. These methods include:2
If you have a fractured cusp, you will benefit from various treatments to help avoid pain and infection. The recommended treatment depends on the severity and extent of the fracture.
Treatment for a fractured cusp can range from non-invasive to extensive work. Common treatments include:
Severe cracks can also be treated with tooth extractions and implants. If there is significant damage to your tooth, you may be referred to an endodontist.
If you fracture a cusp of your tooth, do not panic. There are very few dental emergencies that cannot be easily managed at home before your dental visit.
However, early diagnosis and treatment are always important to avoid a dental emergency. Visit your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following:
If you have a fractured tooth, it will not heal on its own. Unlike other bones in your body, teeth require some restoration treatment to avoid ongoing problems.
Once treated, most teeth continue to function normally. Without treatment, the crack can worsen, resulting in pain, infection, or tooth loss.
Sometimes tooth trauma is unpreventable. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help prevent tooth fractures in certain situations. For example:
It’s also a good idea to complete unfinished dental treatment as soon as possible. If you wait too long, more complex oral health issues can arise, such as an injury or tooth loss.
A fractured cusp happens when the top portion of a tooth is damaged from an injury or tooth decay. Other types of cracks can affect teeth, but they are usually treatable.
A fractured or cracked tooth can cause pain, discomfort, and sensitivity. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and infection.
While fractures do not always cause pain, a severe fracture can be painful. Lastly, a fractured tooth cannot heal on its own and will require some type of treatment.
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